How Federal Workers Became the New 'Welfare Queens'

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Wednesday signed off on a bill that would lead to the termination of any federal employee delinquent on federal taxes. With just the right amount of loopholes, the bill hits a conservative sweet spot: perceived abuse by government employees, the new "welfare queens."

Introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the bill, H. R. 249, would require termination of any federal employee against whom the IRS has filed a lien. With some exceptions: It wouldn't apply to members of the military, or to those who can claim financial hardship (though the measure requires that such scofflaws be counted and reported back to Congress). It applies, in short, to postal workers, employees of any executive branch agency, or any employee of the legislative branch. An almost identical bill passed the House last year, but died in the Senate.

Chaffetz generally credits his politics to Ronald Reagan, not uncommon for a Republican politician. But unlike many of his peers, Chaffetz had the opportunity to meet and work with the former president. In the early 1990s, Reagan signed on as a motivational speaker with Utah-based Nu Skin, a skincare company for which Chaffetz worked as a spokesperson. (Which couldn't have been an easy job.) When he left, Reagan gave Chaffetz an autograph, a pair of cufflinks, and a political philosophy.

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